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Book review...

Published by Warren Dell under on Monday, April 17, 2006

Never Drank The Kool Aid by Toure...

When compared to other music genres Hip-Hop is still a young expression of music and Hip-Hop writing even younger. While music books like Rip It Up And Start Again have been key documents in chronicling the scenes within, Hip-Hop has very few. In recent months though this niche has experienced a boom period with releases looking to match the previously acclaimed Hip-Hop America by Nelson George and Jeff Chang’s Can’t Stop Won’t Stop. Never Drank The Kool-aid by Rolling Stone writer Toure is his best essays from a writing career that spans over a decade. This isn’t simply a collection of question and answer articles but an in-depth insight into the lives of the people behind the music. He manages to empathise and almost befriend the artists, one interview recalls shopping and helping justify a jewellery purchase with the million plus selling artist Kanye West. In another Toure gets to see that fame is not all rosy as he discovers the plight of soul singer D’Angelo. He acts as a confidant to the man who has created a masterpiece album yet is overlooked as just eye candy. Toure examines Hip-Hops change from underground to its commercial acceptance where artists like 50 Cent and Jay-Z are as big and untouchable as the movie stars of today. But when Toure writes about them you can sense a relation as he brings out the ‘human’ in them whether it’s DMX arguing with his wife or Eminem being the family man. Something not understood and respected by outsiders of Hip-Hop is that it’s a culture lived and breathed each day. In an essay entitled I Live In The Hip-Hop Nation it is the most fitting of pieces that helps understand and sums up those who live the life and the artists he writes about. Toure has a knack of revealing more than what the PR people want you to know and never has a writer managed to get so close to an artist in a craft where it’s all about male bravado rather than the intimate moments captured in Never Drank The Kool-Aid.


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